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BRITARCH  December 2007

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Subject:

Re: Further PAS coverage

From:

Paul Barford <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

British archaeology discussion list <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 19 Dec 2007 11:58:11 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

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text/plain (63 lines)

There are no "inconsistencies", no "misleading". Just opinions, the 
expression of which is what discussion lists like this are for.

Steve Burch continues:
> the hobby was consistently told that the PAS was not there just to serve 
> us<
and that is still the case, Steve. It is not. But a lot of the arguments 
which so far have been offered have indeed emerged from two camps. One (the 
loudest) is the "detectorists", afraid this means changes for the way they 
do their hobby as is totally clear from what they write on their own forums. 
The other is the London Office of PAS who first turned to the former for 
support because (understandably) they don't want their jobs to go to 
Birmingham. My feeling is that Lord Renfrew aligns himself more with the 
latter group rather than the former. Presumably the CBA supports the PAS as 
one would hope it would support any other valuable archaeological 
institution which it feels is in trouble.

Nevertheless, unless I am missing something, more closer integration of the 
PAS into the museum network seems to me justifiable and cost effective when 
you consider it is NOT there to provide outreach to 8000 tekkies, but 54 
million other members of the public too. In what way is THEIR access to the 
facilities offered by the PAS going to be compromised by streamlining its 
operations in the way that has been suggested?

I say again, let us wait for the MLA to do their review in consultation with 
interested parties, present the results, present concrete propositions and 
weigh up the pros and cons. Knee-jerk reactions on the basis of rumours 
whipped up by interested parties are simply unproductive.

We are going to look pretty silly if the discussion of the MLA review next 
summer produces a resolution which has a better chance of working than 
trying to move the whole lot to the BM and we've got a 7000 signature 
petition showing we "all" want it to go to the BM.

> an insult to the CBA itself who is open supporting the PAS...<
well, fortunately British archaeology is no totalitarian society. Let us 
make a distinction between supporting the existence of what is said to be 
archaeology's largest outreach (or commenting on how it could provide better 
outreach), and supporting some suggestion that it should be dismantled and 
rebuilt in the BM. Its difficult to see how the latter would work (or how 
the transfer could procede), and you will note, nobody has (yet) expanded on 
how that could operate.  And yet we are asked, please, to sign up to it 
without asking those questions.

> I am sure we all have our own reasons for supporting the PAS..<
Well, there is a difference between supporting the principle, agreeing or 
not with the way the current team have been going about it, and supporting 
the wording of either the EDM or the petition. There is no specific 
"anti-PAS brigade". (I'm more of a "PAS-should-reform" bloke myself, but 
this EDM is intended to preserve the status quo, not lead to a new quality).

Let's leave the discussions of cost-effectiveness of the PAS for another 
time. We've been through it before. I note though that a "PAS Rep" was this 
morning busy explaining it all to "metal detectorists" on UKDN. If 
"archaeology's biggest outreach" cannot be bothered to explain it to us too 
in equally forthright terms, then really there is something wrong isn't 
there? I'd say the PAS wanting support might at least have had the decency 
to come here and talk with us about it and answer any questions some here 
might have and not leave it up to a few "metal detectorists" and the staff 
of a sister organization to put its case.

Paul Barford

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